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Can You Forgive Her? (Vintage Classics) by…

Can You Forgive Her? (Vintage Classics) (edition 2012)

by Anthony Trollope, D. J. Taylor (Introduction)

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1,524354,831 (4.05)2 / 274
Title:Can You Forgive Her? (Vintage Classics)
Authors:Anthony Trollope
Other authors:D. J. Taylor (Introduction)
Info:Random House UK (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 770 pages
Collections:e-Books, Your library, Favorites
Tags:Fiction, literature, classic, political fiction

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Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope


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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Being the first of Trollope's political series, there's a little bit of politics, but the focus of the book is matrimonial. Alice repeatedly makes bad decisions, alledgedly based on false ideas of compatibility. Lots of typical 19th century to-ing and fro-ing before virtually everyone ends up in a better place than they started in. ( )
  gbelik | Jan 8, 2016 |
The first of the Palliser novels. Although many of the characters drove me absolutely bananas for much of the book, it was a great read nonetheless, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the gang will get up to next. Some excellent humor, good political machinations, and romantic antics ... as always, Trollope really is able to get at the humanity of his subjects. ( )
  JBD1 | Dec 16, 2015 |
I enjoyed this and intend to listen to/read the rest of the Palliser series but I must admit that the thought of any more time spent with collassel stick in the mud Plantagenent Palliser and his ninny of a wife Glencora is enough to set my teeth on edge. I'm sure there were meant to be redeeming features in both but I could not find them. Although Alice spends alot of time finding herself unworthy of everything, she was much more real and I was rooting for her and Mr. Grey. George made a wonderful villian and all the extra characters were fun to love or hate. I'm enjoying my Trollope times!
  amyem58 | Nov 13, 2015 |
Alice Vavasor breaks off her engagement to John Grey and becomes re-engaged to her immoral cousin George who spends much of her money on attempts to be returned to Parliament. The other main thread of the plot concerns Glencora, who has been persuaded to marry the saintly Plantagenet Palliser, rather than the worthless man she loves, and who feels guilty that she has not been able to provide him with an heir. Light relief is supplied by Aunt Greenow and her suitors, Mr Cheesacre, who cannot stop talking about his money, and the penniless but dashing Captain Bellfield.

In answer to the title question - no, I never really understood why Alice broke things off with Mr Grey, although her dealings with George made more sense in a twisted sort of way. I thought Plantagenet was an excellent character - perfect in a crisis, but obtuse in so many ways. I also enjoyed Alice's father, who was a straight and honourable man, apart from his extreme laziness. I'm not sure that Trollope was exactly saying this, but a lot might have been avoided if Alice could have stood for Parliament herself ( )
1 vote pgchuis | May 24, 2015 |
This is the first of Trollope's Palliser series, and introduces several members of the Palliser family although they form a somewhat secondary thread of the novel. Likewise, while I gather the series as a whole focuses on Parliament and British politics generally, and while these are important in this novel, they are also secondary to the main plots and themes. For what this novel primarily addresses is the strictures placed upon women in the mid to late 19th century: in choosing husbands, in managing (their own) money, and in always needing to seem, if not be, respectable.

Three women serve as examples of these quandaries, and the primary focus of the book is on Alice Vavasor. On her father's side, Alice is the descendent of centuries of small landowners; her mother died early in her life but on that side she has more noble relatives, who largely, except for one, Lady Glencora (another focus of the plot), she doesn't see much. Alice is very friendly with her cousins Kate and George Vavasor, and indeed was once engaged to George. The engagement was broken off because of some misconduct by George, and as the novel opens she is engaged to, and in love with, a very respectable man, John Grey. Alice yearns to be involved in the issues and activities of the times, and fears that life in the country with John Grey will be too boring -- and so she keeps postponing setting a date for the wedding.

A lot of the novel deals with Alice's subsequent change of heart, encouraged b Kate who dreams of a marriage between Alice and her brother, and by George's desire to run for a parliamentary seat. George turns out to be ruthless, mean, violent, and more, and has no compunction about using Alice's money (inherited from her mother) to pay for an "agent" who apparently bribes people to vote for a desired candidate. Alice agonizes about her choices endlessly.

Two other women's stories are intertwined with Alice's. Her cousin, Lady Glencora, is madly in love with a charming and beautiful man, Burgo Fitzgerald, who has no aim in life other than to live well and beyond his means; he is initially after Glencora's money but finds he loves her too. Needless to say, her relatives refuse to let her marry Burgo and hasten to marry her off to Plantagenent Palliser, the son of a duke and a rising star in Parliament. She, of course, finds him boring in the extreme and still longs for Burgo, who plots to carry her off despite her marriage, although she knows she shouldn't.

The other woman is Alice's aunt, Mrs. Greenow, a widow who inherited money from her husband, who was "in trade." She provides comic relief, as she is a delightful schemer, but she also represents a woman who can make choices on her own, thanks to her widowed status. She is juggling two prospective new husbands, one a solid farmer and one a charming liar, out in the countryside where she is living.

And so the stage is set as Trollope masterfully organizes the endlessly complex interactions among these characters (and many more), including abduction plots, steadfast loyalty, political scheming, romantic yearning, inheritance puzzles, and, for Alice, endless worrying and self-scolding for what she believes to be her unforgivable behavior towards John Grey. In this novel, the bad characters get worse as the novel progresses, and the good people acquire additional good characteristics, so the ending is satisfying, if indeed a little unbelievable for someone like me who generally reads much grimmer fare.

I am impressed by Trollope's writing, in particular by his creation of full-fledged, believable female characters, as well as by his ability to juggle plots and characters and by his authorly interjections to the reader. I am glad I finally succumbed to reading him, and will continue to do so.
6 vote rebeccanyc | Feb 7, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Birch, DinahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Whether or no, she, whom you are to forgive, if you can, did or did not belong to the Upper Ten Thousand of this our English world, I am not prepared to say with any strength of affirmation.
She wanted the little daily assurance of her supremacy in the man's feelings, the constant touch of love, half accidental half contrived, the passing glance of the eye telling perhaps of some little joke understood only between them two rather than of love, the softness of an occasional kiss given here and there when chance might bring them together, some half-pretended interest in her little doings, a nod, a wink, a shake of the head, or even a pout. It should have been given to her to feed upon such food as this daily, and then she would have forgotten Burgo Fitzgerald.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140430865, Paperback)

The first novel in Anthony Trollope's "Palliser" series, "Can You Forgive Her?" traces the fortunes of three very different women in an exploration of whether social obligations and personal happiness can ever coincide. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by Stephen Wall. Alice Vavasor cannot decide whether to marry her ambitious but violent cousin George or the upright and gentlemanly John Grey - and finds herself accepting and rejecting each of them in turn. Increasingly confused about her own feelings and unable to forgive herself for such vacillation, her situation is contrasted with that of her friend Lady Glencora - forced to marry the rising politician Plantagenet Palliser in order to prevent the worthless Burgo Fitzgerald from wasting her vast fortune. In asking his readers to pardon Alice for her transgression of the Victorian moral code, Trollope created a telling and wide-ranging account of the social world of his day. In his introduction, Stephen Wall examines Trollope's skill in depicting the strengths and weaknesses of his characters, their behaviour and inner lives. This edition also includes notes and a bibliography. Anthony Trollope (1815-82) had an unhappy childhood characterised by a stark contrast between his family's high social standing and their comparative poverty. He wrote his earliest novels while working as a Post Office inspector, but did not meet with success until the publication of the first of his 'Barsetshire novels', "The Warden" (1855). As well as writing over forty novels, including such popular works as "Can You Forgive Her?" (1865), "Phineas Finn" (1869), "He Knew He Was Right" (1869) and "The Way We Live Now" (1875) Trollope is credited with introducing the postbox to England. If you enjoyed "Can You Forgive Her?", you might enjoy Henry James' "The Ambassadors", also available in "Penguin Classics".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:15 -0400)

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CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? is the first of the six Palliser novels. In this volume Trollope examines parliamentary election and marriage, politics and privacy. He dissects the Victorian upper class. Issues and people shed their pretenses under his patient, ironic probe. But it is on women and their predicament that Trollope particularly focuses. "What should a woman do with her life?" asks Alice Vavasor. And each woman, being different and unique, has her own answer, from the uncomfortably married Lady Glencora to the coquettish Mrs. Greenow, to Alice's clear-headed cousin Kate.… (more)

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